Monday, March 31, 2014

Homemade Polish Pierogies

I made about a million pierogies the other day, at least it felt like I made that many.  First I made the dough.  Mix 4 cups of flour, 1 tsp. salt, 4 eggs and 4 T. of canola oil together until they form a ball.  You might need to add a bit of water depending on how big your eggs are.  When you have a nice smooth ball of dough, wrap it in plastic and place it in the fridge.

I made a potato, cheese and onion filling by ricing 2 baked potatoes with 1/2 minced onion, 1 C. of shredded cheddar cheese, salt and pepper and 2 T. sour cream.  Taste it and if it is delicious, it is ready.

I cut some chives, which are just starting to show up in my garden, and added them to the mix.  This mixture needs to be at room temperature or chilled before filling the pierogies. It also should be on the dry side.

For the second filling, I made a mixture of mushrooms and sauerkraut.  Rehydrate some dried mushrooms and dice them up and chop some fresh ones too.  Saute' them in some butter with a minced onion.  Add S&P to taste.

Blot 1 C. of sauerkraut dry and dice it into small pieces.  Add this to the mushroom mix, and saute' a bit, add 2 T. of sour cream, stir and then set it aside to cool.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll it very thin.

 Cut as many circles as you can get, brush off the flour and form the scraps into a ball and set it aside.  After you have rolled and cut all the dough, roll out the scraps and make some more!

This is out of place and I couldn't move it.  As you make them place them on a floured cookie sheet before you boil them.  If you are going to freeze some, place the cookie sheet in your freezer until they are frozen and then throw them in a ziplock bag.
Place a scoop of your filling on each disk.

Dip your finger in some water and dot the edge of one side with it. Fold one side to the other and crimp tightly to seal.  You don't want these babies opening when you boil them.  Now is the time to curse your dead relatives for not being there to help you make these.  Twenty little Polish women would come in very handy right about now.  At this point, I actually swore to myself that these were the last pierogies I would ever make. I told myself I can buy fabulous pierogies in any number of places in this city and why the hell would I spend hours and hours standing alone in my kitchen making ones that might pale in comparison? I felt liberated.

Bring some salted water to a boil and boil about 8 at a time.

Melt some good butter and pour it in a flat container.

Melt more butter in a heavy pan and add some sliced onions.  I used spring onions here.  Fry them just until they begin to soften.

The pierogies are done when they float to the surface. Remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the melted butter.  Turn them gently to coat.  You don't want them to stick to each other.

The sauerkraut and mushroom are the darker ones.

Keep layering them and turning them in the butter.  I only made enough for one meal and froze the rest of them.

Top with the onions and serve them with a side of sour cream.  My family said these were the best pierogies they ever had so I guess I am not out of the pierogi business yet...damn!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Maple Syrup Season is Over

 The Blog Tech and I hit the road early yesterday to go to the last maple syrup festival of the season.

 From what we heard, this was the big one.

 We drove far up into the mountains with much anticipation.

 The area was beautiful though not a sign of Spring could be seen.

 Lots of Amish farms in this area.

 Soon to be a big garden.

 On and on we drove.

 And then we were there.

 Geeze, is this it?

 In this strange little town,  you have to back your car in to park.

It was sort of like a ghost town.

 No car parking at the local bank. Only horse and buggy parking allowed.

 We finally tracked down the festival.


 This festival was really packing them in!

 Great choice of food....not. 

 If you paid this guy 13.00, you got a tin mug and unlimited soda all day. I can't imagine who was spending a whole day here.

 An historic house.

 The local beauties.

 A couple of tapped trees.

 And then we headed home.

Sugaring season came in like a lion but went out like a lamb this year for The Blog Tech and me.  We've hung up our proverbial maple boots for the season.  And um, we returned without one maple product.  There were barely any to be seen. Win a few, lose a few!

Friday, March 28, 2014

More Paska

As usual, when I do something I like, I get caught up in it.  As you can see, I am really having fun baking Paska.  Since the ones I made with crosses exploded, I tried a different design and I like this recipe much better.  Here are the ingredients:

1 C. milk
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. yeast
2 1/4 t. rapid rise yeast
 1/2 C. butter, melted
 5 large eggs (+ 1 yolk for the egg wash)
3/4 C. sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
  1/2 t. ground cardamom
zest from 1 orange
6 C. all purpose flour + 1/2 C. for kneading
Heat the milk until warm. Add the 1 T. sugar and the yeast and sit it aside for a few minutes.

Add the milk to your mixer then add the eggs and the yeast. Add the melted butter.

Add the cardamom.

Add the zest, vanilla and the rest of the sugar and beat until blended.  Gradually add the flour until you have a smooth slightly sticky dough.

Turn it into a buttered bowl, cover with plastic and put it in a warm place to proof for 3-4 hours.

Punch it down and turn it out onto your counter top.

Divide it into three pieces.

Divide each piece into three equal pieces and roll the 3 pieces into long ropes.

Braid the ropes together.

Tuck the ends under the rope.

Wind the braid around in a circle.

Repeat with the other two main pieces.  Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise about 1 hour.

Poofy after the rise!
Beat 1 egg yoke with a scant teaspoon of water.

Brush each loaf with the egg yolk.  Bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes until golden with an internal temp of 190 degrees.

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Pretty, no?

These are flaky and buttery and yeasty.

And right now I have a new recipe of them rising!